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I hope and trust he is a young man. I hope and trust he is a very young man. . . That this latest book has not been dashed off in the heat of youth I refuse (in the absence of direct evidence to the contrary) to suppose. Looking from my window, I refuse to suppose that the colt in yonder meadow kicking its hoofs so blissfully, so uncouthly, so ineffectually, is a full-grown horse. . . . He "writes up" the subject of dramatic literature just as his humbler colleagues “write up" the subject of a fire or a murder. "Whim," wrote Emerson over his study door. "Vim," writes Mr. Huneker over the door of the cable car, in which (presumably) he does his work. Mr. Huneker has read "Love among the Artists," and he wishes to say that the story is not a pleasant one. This is how he says it. "It is as invigorating as a bath of salt water when the skin is peeled off-it burns; you howl; Shaw grins." No matter that we don't howl over the story. Enough that Mr. Huneker does howl at us. . . Its violence and vulgarity are hardly the worst faults of this book. A careful and consistent expression of violence and vulgarity might take rank as literature. But here these qualities are expressed so very carelessly. The writing is so bad that you have to read between the lines to discover what Mr. Huneker means; and when, as often happens, he means nothing, you naturally resent the waste of your time. Of course the quick-lunch public has nothing to resent.
The hypothesis of extreme youthfulness is probably assumed only for rhetorical purposes, and we should not be surprised if Mr. Beerbohm knew the precise extent of Mr. Huneker's seniority. Mr. Beerbohm himself happens to be rather young, and young creatures, especially of the sort described by Thackeray as "ojous, droll, sarcastic," dearly love this little device, "beardless" being one of their very worst adjectives. The young in letters are, it will be found, almost always the most grandfatherly. Having once attained the sad sufficiency of middle age, they are not nearly so haughty about it,
and the epithet "beardless" soon disappears from the vocabulary of their contempt. Apart from this, he has certainly laid bare Mr. Huneker's literary vices, and incidentally those of several American writers of the arrestive sort sometimes called "brilliant" by people in a hurry because some particularly limp reviewer swears they make him "sit up." The practice of uneasy writing is growing on us. Only the other day a Boston magazine editor was advertising for "Heart Throbs," which he says are now greatly in demand, even "plain people."
But Mr. Beerbohm sees only the vices of Mr. Huneker. Not a word in the article about the good points of the book, and there are many. For one thing, one covers a good deal of ground with Mr. Huneker, not arriving anywhere perhaps, but seeing a good bit of country first and last. Like a motor-car owned by a certain mad editor whom we know, he quivers and explodes a good deal, and goes often merely for the sake of going or of making speed or passing other motor-cars or astonishing the wayside fences or tossing hens, and quivers and explodes most of all when he is not going anywhere-still he does take you about, and you soon grow used to the fuss of it all and the smell of naphtha. On the other hand, readers of Mr. Max Beerbohm have reason to complain of the long pauses in which that entertaining trifler leaves them with nothing whatever to do. He is as much addicted to under-thinking as Mr. Huneker to over-stating, and he presents a broad, fair mark for a rejoinder if Mr. Huneker can only be induced to make one. By every means possible dramatic critics should be encouraged to fire into one another's lines. It will tend greatly to the advantage of the profession. It is not a kind thing to say, but personally we should be gratified if almost every shot proved fatal. Not, however, in the case of these two, who, though they may hate each other, have this much in commonthat they are among the very few whom anybody could wish to see survive.
Dr. Wilhelm Ostwald, famous for his contributions to physiological chemistry,
has surprised the world by a discovery in an entirely new field. In the last number of the International Quarterly he unfolds a new theory of happiness, which was revealed to him some time ago, but which he kept to himself until he had tested it by his own experience. Its essential point is that happiness can be reduced to an astonishingly compact and convenient algebraic equation. Happiness equals the square of the energy voluntarily exercised minus the square of the energy expended against the will. But let us present his own more precise statement:
An Important Discovery.
If E stands for the amount of energy voluntarily exercised, W for the amount of energy exercised against the will during the same time, I offer the following equation as the aptest representation of the facts: H stands for happiness,
H = (E+W) (E—W) or H = E2 — W
I cannot help fearing that the reader will regard this formula as idle play, and I wish therefore to insist that this is a way of illustrating observed and approved facts, and is clearer than all formulæ of verbal form. The formula has guided me correctly in choosing between a number of possibilities which demanded resolutions of greatest consequence for my own welfare and that of my own family; and I think that the reader will at least be interested to try and understand this exposition.
A certain reticence may have been noticed in these columns as to what constitutes real poetry and as to the relative measurements of bards-matters treated with admirable precision in other magazines during the past year. This is due, we fear, to gross uncertainty. Parnassus has never been for us ringed with lines showing altitude above sea-level, like the mountains in the school geographies, nor have we been able to grade geniuses as accurately as we could wish. Ranging one bard along with another, old or new, great or small, we are apt to mis
The Polemics of Literary Measurement.
calculate by many centimeters. We are not even sure of ourselves in applying the Johnsonian parallel to present poets of a certain degree. We might say, for ex ample, that, If of Gilder's Muse the steam pressure is higher, that of Carman is broader in the beam-but we should do so with little confidence that it would survive the tests of later investigators. Hence our pleasure (a little mixed with envy) in recent magazine discussions. grading authors according to sweetness, girth, weight, height, depth, speed and durability, with never a moment's doubt. Perhaps a compatriot of Emerson declares he is entitled to the first rank anywhere, and from this position shall never be dislodged, and a London reviewer says he cannot allow it because Emerson was lacking in Je-ne-sais-quoi-ness, and lived too long at Concord, Massachusetts, and much as he hates to disquiet America, he must rate Emerson two points lower. Or it may be that Professor Barrett Wendell in the course of his Cambridge lectures does not rate the versatility of Dryden so high as it is rated by some Oxford don, who has scheduled the qualities of all the poets and marked them on the scale of ten, and the don turns quickly to his tables and finds that many of Professor Wendell's tastes are inexcusably erroneous, wrong by Troy weight, wrong by avoirdupois, and that they are not always expressed in donnish language, several phrases being merely suggestive and three prepositions misplaced. So on this firm basis he proves the lecturer illiterate and shallowpated, and then with wider sweep (for he happens to be a Saturday Reviewer) dismisses all American scholarship as quite worthless and American. Or, again, it may be that Mr. Markham (the world's most expository poet, "The Man with the Key," the only one as yet known who after the printing of a poem can live handsomely for several years on the income of his explanations), appears once more in a magazine, and the question immediately arises, Is it a deathless song? And one maintains that Mr. Markham is the true bobolink singing with his breast against a thorn, and another disproves it by citing two or three mixed metaphors or lines that he cannot understand.
That lone last peak of my soul had spoken, That last peak lost in light.
"How can a peak speak?" says the foe of Markham, and a man from the poet's man from the poet's ranks fells him with a Bible. "Why hop ye so ye high hills?' says the Bible, and how can a high hill hop?" And on they go, each deciding the thing absolutely and trying to bind the rest, and Mr. Markham waits cheerfully, knowing that his time will surely come, and meanwhile plans lecture tours along all the principal trade routes in the country. This magazine may not always address itself to these grave issues in the clarion tones that they deserve, but it appreciates the spirit of such discussions and loves to see them going on.
the first tale by Mr. London which deals entirely with a professional boxer, his interest in and first-hand knowledge of the sport of Figg and Broughton was shown in "The Shadow and the Flash," which appeared in THE BOOKMAN about two years ago. "All fights are good reading," said George Borrowe, and the only wonder is that there are not more of them in fiction. Every few pages in the works of Fielding and Smollett men and women are busy cudgelling one another, but these impromptu battles in wayside inns lack the stress and excitement of the "regulation" affairs. The same may be said of the schoolboy fights of fiction-Cuff and Dobbin in Vanity Fair, Tom Brown and Slogger Williams in Hughes's famous book and the struggle with which Lorna Doone begins. There is hardly a novel of Thackeray's in which at some time he does not bring in the "Tutbury Pet" or the "Brixton Bruiser," although some of the observations that he attributes to Harry Foker lead us to believe that his knowledge of the history of the British ring during the Regency and the reign of George the Fourth was more or less superficial. No such criticism can be
made of Conan Doyle, who has at his fingers' ends every detail of ring history from Buckhorse to Tom Sayers, and who is a distinguished patron of the National Sporting Club of London. The first story by Mr. Richard Harding Davis to attract any wide attention was "Gallegher," which was in a measure a story of a prize fight, and the delight which Van Bibber and his friend Travers took in attending "boxing contests" and officiating as timekeepers showed a keen interest in the subject on the part of Mr. Davis himself. In Cashel Byron's Profession, George Bernard Shaw devoted an entire novel to the glorification of prize fighting, but it will be a long time before any one will write a tale of the ring comparable to Doyle's Rodney Stone, or describe a battle as dramatic and stirring as that between Jack Harrison and Crab Wilson on the Southern Downs.
A recent issue of one of the English illustrated weeklies devotes two full pages to certain titled Britons of literary achievements or pretensions. We are introduced to the pleasing countenances of Lady Gilbert, author of Nanno; the Honourable Mrs. Alfred Lyttleton, author of Warp and Woof; the Honourable Mrs. Evelyn Cecil, author of A History of Gardening; the Baroness de Bertouch, "song writer;" Lady Helen Forbes, author of His Eminence; the Countess of Cromartie, "poet and novelist;" Lady Violet Greville, "journalist;" Lady Margaret Sackville, "poet;" the Duchess of Sutherland, author of One Hour and the Next; Lady Jersey, "writer of children's stories;" the Duchess of Leeds, author of Capriccios; Lady Lugard, "writer on African subjects;" the Honourable Alexander Nelson Hood, "writer on Venice;" Earl Percy, author of The Highlands of Asiatic Turkey; the Duke of Argyll, author of Diarmid; Lord Iddesleigh, author of Luck o' Lassendale, and the Earl of Ellesmere, who is described as "the author of many sporting works." Now, with a few exceptions, these names are strangely unfamiliar to us. We call attention to them because we wonder whether a lord or a lady is as expensive
Latter Day Popjoys?
a luxury to a publisher as it was in the days when Mr. Arthur Pendennis was embarking on a literary career in Pump Court, Inner Temple. We remember the sad experiences of the respectable Bacon with his fashionable authors. "There was Lord Viscount Dods," Bacon told Warrington with a sigh. "I gave his Lordship a good bit of money for his poems, and only sold eighty copies. Mr. Popjoy's Hadjincourt, sir, fell dead." Captain Shandon, writing to Pendennis in the interest of Bacon's rival, Bungay, and the projected Pall Mall Gazette, is evidently much of the same opinion. "You would be the very man to help us with a genuine West-End article-you understand-dashing, trenchant, and d aristocratic. Lady Hipshaw will write; but she's not much, you know, and we've two lords; but the less they do the better."
Between Dr. Albert S. Ashmead of New York and "O.," author of The Yellow War, there has been a round of comment and countercomment regarding "hari-kiri," the Japanese formal method of suicide by abdomen-cutting. Dr. Ashmead in a newspaper interview, in which he described a case of heroic suicide that came under his own notice as not killing the patient for nine days, remarked, "When this writer 'O.' announces that heroic suicide causes immediate death he shows that he is not a Japanese or even one who knows whereof he speaks." "O." answered an American acquaintance who sent him word of this aspersion: "If the learned doctor had read what I have described, he would have found that my description tallies minutely with the procedure he himself claims for the suicidal ceremony. In the case which I quote, the unfortunate naval lieutenant, Watanbe, has the second engineer of his ship standing beside him. with a naked sword in his hand. Watanbe self-inflicts a slight incision. The second engineer thereupon decapitates him. Q. E. D. The learned doctor, in his anxiety to advertise his superficial knowledge of Japanese rites and ceremonies, has committed the indiscretion of attack on insecure premises. Let us
hope that he takes more trouble in the diagnosis of his professional cases before operation than he does in the similar process with books." This is a fine, testy response. Dr. Ashmead, however, was right in so far as he doubted "O.'s" being a Japanese. The author has himself settled that question by the following statement: "As several reviewers have suggested that 'O.' has imitated the style of Intelligence Officer,' in his On the Heels of De Wet, you are at liberty to state that 'O.' is the contracted form of 'Intelligence Officer,' so that both The Yellow War and On the Heels of De Wet are from my pen."
We have Booth Tarkington's definite confession as to the originating sugges
tion both for his Beau"Beaucaire" caire and for his Beautiand "The ful Lady. "I had been Beautiful Lady." doing some pictures," he says, "for a little magazine that failed, and after the failure I still had two or three sketches left over. One of these I picked up one night on my desk. It represented a little man in a peruke, sitting disconsolately at a table, while in front of him stood a big, tall man in a uniform that I concluded was English. The little man looked to me like a Frenchman, and the other one was big enough to be a Duke. So I began to write around the sketch, and the result was Monsieur Beaucaire." At that time Mr. Tarkington had not been to Europe, and wrote his story about Bath without ever having been there. The suggestion for his other foreign story, The Beautiful Lady, came to him in the life and on the spot. As Mr. Tarkington describes it, "I was in Paris last July, and saw a crowd, one afternoon, on the pavement in front of the Café de la Paix, all laughing; everybody up and down the Boulevard was laughing. The American bar around the corner was doing no business, patrons had emerged to stare. I worked through the crowd and saw my fellow, the man with the painted head (which might have been the title of the story). He was a nice-looking person, exceedingly well dressed and immensely unhappy. Afterwards he haunted me. What could have induced a man of his type to do such a
thing? Gradually the story came, and I wrote it." The Tarkingtons, by the way, are so enamoured of Europe that they will return there some time this month and make their home in Capri.
A propos of some paragraphs in the July BOOKMAN about French and Belgian ideas of the Battle of Waterloo, a gentleman writing from Lancaster, Massachusetts, calls our attention to some verses written by Praed seventy-five years ago. Besides being a neat bit of fun, he comments, they show that the Waterloo Myth is of quite a respectable age. The verses are found, with a note by the editor, Sir George Young, in The Political and Occasional Poems of Winthrop Mackworth Praed, and in the Canterbury Poets selection from Praed.
[Appeared in the Literary Souvenir for 1831, unsigned; but I have seen the original, dated Feb. 1, 1830. At this time it was the fashion with French writers to assume that the English had already been beaten at Waterloo, when somehow the French got "betrayed." See especially the Relation of General Gourgaud, published 1818. In the next generation, Victor Hugo invented the "hollow road of Ohain," to account for the French cavalry not "breaking the English squares."]
"On this spot the French cavalry charged, and broke the English squares!"-Narrative of a French Tourist.
"Is it true, think you?"-Winter's Tale. Ay, here such valorous deeds were done As ne'er were done before;
Ay, here the reddest wreath was won
Since Ariosto's famous Knight
Made all the Paynims dance, There never dawned a day so bright As Waterloo's on France.
The trumpet poured its deafening sound,
The sabres flashed their light of fear,
The English quaked from front to rear-
The cuirassiers rode in and out
As fierce as wolves and bears;
No wonder Britain blushed for shame,
The Duke of York was killed that day;
Was taken by the Guard;
Poor Wellington with fifty Blues Escaped by some mischance; Henceforth I think he'll hardly choose To show himself in France.
So Buonaparte pitched his tent
That night in Grosvenor Place, And Ney rode straight to Parliament And broke the Speaker's mace; "Vive l'Empereur" was said and sung From Peebles to Penzance: The Mayor and Aldermen were hung; Which made folks laugh in France.
They pulled the Tower of London down;
They burnt our wooden walls;
They brought the Pope himself to town
They sent a Regent to our Isle, The little King of Rome;
And squibs and crackers all the while Blazed in the Place Vendôme;
And ever since, in arts and power,
They're making great advance;
They've had strong beer from that glad hour, And sea-coal fires in France.
My uncle, Captain Flanigan, Who lost a leg in Spain, Tells stories of a little man
Who died at St. Helène;
But bless my heart, they can't be true;